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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
7:00 p.m.

He watched the light catch the individual facets of the dark grains of sand as he rolled the small vile between calloused fingers and wondered for the millionth time if this was the right thing to do. It was always easy to talk something up, to say you were going to do one thing, that it was the smart thing to do, the only choice. In reality, it always the hardest thing to do. It was just like he’d told the old crone, damned if you do and damned if you don’t, and if there was anything the tracker hated it was being pigeon holed into doing something and not having enough information to succeed. Teague knew about the shadow powder and he had a vague description of what he was going to port into, but that still didn’t seem like enough.

It had been a long, long time since he’d done anything this remotely stupid. More than likely he was walking into a trap. More than likely he’d never find out if Trevor’s kids were still alive. More than likely Trevor would end up killing him for it, unless of course Hunt beat him to it.

Hunt. Now there was another issue all together. He’d done an awful lot of digging the past month and had managed to find almost nothing about the man which had set of red flags like nobody’s business. Everyone had something on them, nobody had nothing. And Elias had nothing. Or at the very least, the Minister was able to keep a half step ahead of them all. It wasn’t like didn’t know Teague had gone digging… in fact the tracker would have been downright surprised if the man wasn’t cutting ties and laying false trails to follow. The perfect game of cat and mouse.

His thoughts drifted back to the little vile of shadow powder and the two letters he’d finished writing: one for Delilah and one for Trevor, both detailing what he’d found, the info on the Syndicate agent and anything else he’d dug up over the past month. With Delilah’s he’d taken extra care to include anything he could on Hunt knowing it was more than likely they’d go toe to toe in the upcoming weeks, especially if his little adventure ended up leaving them lordless. With Trevor’s he’d made sure to let him know that his tracker had found a solid lead on the girls and that Julian was on the trail of another suspected Syndicate operative and to touch base with him if he could. Teague also made certain to include another small vile, half full of the shadow powder. Stupid? Probably, but the tracker figured it was the least he could do to help someone he’d considered a friend of sorts.

Teague let out a soft sigh as he finished with the last letter. He was procrastinating now and that thought brought a bitter smile to his face. At least something’s never changed. A sharp whistle and his owl was at the open window and shortly thereafter off to deliver its precious cargo.

After that he took his time, taking extra care to make sure his wand was loose in its holster and within easy reach. The knives he kept in its boot sheath and in the sheath that rested at the small of his back were both secure and sharp enough to split hairs. As an after though he grabbed the extra one he kept hidden in the frame of the small coffee table in his living room and opted to palm it as added security if things got messy in hurry, and the tracker didn’t doubt that things were going to be fun.

He grabbed his cloak and put it on (it hid his movements better than a muggle jacket) and proceeded to walk over to his fire place. Once there the tracker casually tossed the vile into the fire. A small flash and the fire turned a sinister purple looking color. And here he was, at what felt like the crossroad of the world, ready to take a leap of faith like non he’d ever taken before. Teague forced back any trepidation and nervousness he’d felt and hid it behind the perfect mask of one of Voldemort’s killers, gripped the palmed blade and his wand, and then stepped into the unknown.
Life down here wasn't so bad, Katya thought. At first, she had been doubtful she would like it here very much. It was so different than the life topside, and there were creatures here she would have never dreamed of interacting with in her life. She likely never would have had it not been for the fact that Jake had tricked her with his little rat form then abducted her. After a brief while, however, she had begun to accept she had to survive down here somewhere and that waiting around hoping to be found would not be the best use of her time while down here. She should learn about it instead and be ever watchful for that opportunity to leave. Gaining their trust would make that easier. To do that, she had first had to show resentment then slowly transition to walking a fine line between Stockholm's Syndrome-like behavior and behaviors which hinted at underlying resentment and missing her father. She had been down here long enough it was believable enough, she hoped--especially since she was not with her father long. They were treating her quite nicely at least despite the fact they had abducted her.

Katya wondered, if Trey was still out there somewhere, what did he think about this? And his fiancee? Was she now his wife? What did she think? Were they scared for her? Were they in Diagon Alley helping push for a search? Or did the thought of being near her father scare feeble Trey away? But her father was gone now, likely looking for her and her sister. Were they out there? Were they looking, too? Katya swallowed and looked over at a street vendor who was offering her flowers. "No thank you," she said with a small smile. They were pretty but not worth what little underground currency she had managed to scrounge together. No, that was worth much more to her. She could only hope she could continue to save up and that it would pay off in the long run for her to have done so.

Katya came to a brief pause as she neared the werewolf district. She wondered if she should go see her sister. Layla was being a little nicer now that she had let her in on her plan, but not much and certainly not to her captors. From what she understood, Layla was being an outright terror to those people. Should she go visit her, she wondered. Or should she keep walking? It wasn't like she had promised Layla a visit today, and it wasn't like Layla was interested in her company beyond the prospect of a potential update on her plan. So, perhaps not. Now that she'd had her little walk, perhaps she should return to her quarters. But she wasn't quite ready to. The walk had not been satisfying. The walks seldom were. She longed to feel the sun on her skin and the gentle breeze on her skin, cool though it might be this time of year. The underground didn't have those things, though, but that was life right now. She had to accept it.
Horvluk's hoisted the hammer he was known for over his shoulder. It was about the time for the Nosferatu night guard to come relieve him and his squad of their flame guard duty. With him were two other goblins and three humans. Squads of six to guard the flame, always. Why? The goblin didn't pretend to know. Nobody unauthorized had ever made it through the flames. The labyrinth, yes, but that path led through here just the same...the bastards were lucky and probably deserved success if they made it through that maze...but no matter, now, was it? He could see the knot of six coming to replace him. Three fang faces, a werewolf, and two humans. They paused by a dark haired girl, he could see. Was that the eldest Williams brat? She was a good sort, for all her father being a bad 'un. But they'd say that Sullivan was a bad one in the history books too, and that wasn't quite right either, was it? No...they were all just trying to survive and carve out a place to stand.

Horvluk spat a massive wad of mucus off the walkway into the inky lake surrounding the city. It did no goblin well to think such thoughts. It wasn't his to decide who was good or bad. All he could really do was keep the forge lit for the goblins to come after and carve a piece for them to stand too. That, maybe, is why he thought Sullivan to be not so bad as all that: the human was willing to share that carved-out-place with other species and not stand on them like other wizards.

The six approached and gave their hellos. Stonejaw gave his hello with a wave of his cudgel, Dieter did the same with his axe. Horvluk's merely grunted and turned to leave, pushing his way through the twelve towards a mess of fried food and beer.

The flame turned amethyst and the twelve froze. Nobody was scheduled to come in, protocol demanded that anyone entering be met at weapon point. The twelve readied wands, swords, axes, and hammers according to species.
”Well shit.” That was the first thought that ran through his head when he stepped out of the purple flame and to the wand and other various weapon point. Honestly the tracker didn’t expect to be dropped out in the open. He’d expected like most floo to end up in a room of some sort, perhaps through a personal fireplace. Thankfully Teague was better that most Death Eaters at improvising on the fly so when twelve very unhappy looking guards were in front of him and the few seconds of initial shock passed, the tracker reacted purely on instinct.

Teague didn’t waste time and in the span of a moment he had hurled the knife he’d palmed at the closest target which had the added bonus of giving the tracker a half second to un-sheath his wand. Unfortunately that was all the time the –was that a vampire?!- needed to catch his initially thrown knife and send it right back. The tracker caught it hard, just below the right shoulder and he staggered back into and slightly behind the marble archway with a pained grunt from the force of the throw.

In retrospect that had probably saved his life. No sooner had he ducked behind the very limited cover, a volley of well-aimed stunners and knives hit the spot he had previously been standing in.

”Aye nice to meet you too,” he shouted back as he returned fire for a moment before hand and wand came to rest where the hilt of the knife protruded. Bloody hell that hurt. With a shaky grip and a bit back curse Teague pulled the knife free and mumble the fastest and barely passable healing charm he could to staunch the blood flow. What he needed now was a way out, some place that offered more cover than where he was.

Quick observation showed he was on a circular platform and down below was water of some sort. The tracker stuck his head out and almost had it taken off by some sort of spell for his trouble. What he did notice before that though, was a bridge just to the left of where the guards were currently grouped up. If he could get across that and into some cover he was almost certain he could shake them.

As soon as there was a gap in the fire Teague took the opportunity and cast a few spells meant to kill before getting up a shield and taking off at a sprint for the bridge.
Horvluk spat a curse from behind the barrier of spells. This man was mad to attack, and yet...and yet. It was lucky for the Nosferatu Eridan that his reflexes were faster than human. Any slower, Horvluk noted, and the fang face would be dead. This human had a deadly aim, for sure. Still, when the dagger was returned, the scent of blood hit the goblin's nose. He was only human, and he'd be captured. Dead, hopefully if they could help it. The spell slingers went completely defensive with shields when the man sprinted out for the bridge. Killing curses crackled along the shield work, eating their way through, so the knot of flame guards scattered. Some went to the bridge and triggered the collapse mechanism. From the far shore, section by section dissolved into the cold water. The other half of the guards retrieved brooms from the emergency cellar at the base of one of the pillars. Horvluk himself merely touched the stone island's cobblework and whispered a goblin spell. His eyes were focused on the city, hewn from the same rock as the island. Soon, the gargoyles along the top of the wall were screeching and wailing the alarm sound. Civilians would know to hide and fighters would know to get their asses onto the streets and patrol. The flame guard, in the meanwhile, kept their division. Six stayed on the island to make sure that this man wasn't the only one coming through and six took to brooms. As much as he hated flying, the goblin joined the aerial pursuit team to provide them the special set of magic that only a goblin could provide.

"Which way?" A wizard called to the lone Nosferatu in the group who had dabbed her finger into the blot of blood the man left behind. She focused, drew a symbol in the air carefully, and then pointed.

"His blood sings that way, hunters." The flight of guards swooped in the indicated direction, combing the waters and shoreline for their prey.
As soon as the tracker heard a catch release he knew the bridge was a bad idea, and 5 strides in when it suddenly dropped out from under him, he definitely knew it had been a bad idea. He hit the water and went under for a second or two before breaking the surface with a sputtering hiss and a gasp for air. Bloody hell it was freezing!

Shouts from behind and the sounds of scrambling only served to remind Teague that he didn’t have time for a leisurely swim, a fact that was confirmed after a quick glance over his should to see the guards mounting brooms. Fan-fucking-tastic. He needed a way to make distance and any spells that could have helped were failing to come to mind. But what if spells were the wrong way to go? If he could just put some distance between him and everyone else… He took a few quick strokes forward to gain some momentum and distance before deciding to make a gamble of sorts. A sparrow was a quick little bugger when it needed to be and small enough that it hopefully wouldn’t present to large of a target for his pursuers once he got to- if he could get to the air. Never mind the issue of not being able to see properly in the dim lighting, but right now Teague figured it was worth the shot. So he changed.

It was with nowhere near the finesse he was usually able to accomplish the shift with but it worked after a mad flapping of wings, one of which was clearly damaged, and an almost dunking Teague managed to get himself a few feet off the water and airborne. The question now was where to go. He needed a place to lay low for a few minutes to get his bearings and so far the “living area” was looking like his best option.
In an orderly manner, the streets emptied of vendors and shoppers, workers and wanderers. They'd drilled monthly on such an implausible scenario, but now the practice was paying dividends. The impossible had happened. The City was breached and the guards were in active pursuit.

A squad of nosferatu mounted the the steals of the Stndicate and began patrolling. Werewolves broke into four man squads and began combing the wheel shaped streets. Goblins went in ones and twos to the stone sculptures in the streets and set them free as unkillable shock troops to defend and destroy.

Nobody saw the sparrow, save one little girl who pointed to it before she was bundled into her home by her mother. The family didn't report it, but they did lock their doors and windows tightly, wands at the ready. After all, the bird may have been a pet gotten loose, right?
He could hear the shouts and yells of the guards, mixed with some kind of warning siren that had everyone clearing the streets. Bloody hell, so much for simply blending in. Wings flapped hard as the tiny body worked to keep itself alight. It was hard work flying in a dark cave. While there were updrafts of sorts it was nothing like being out under the open sky. Every beat of his wings was extra work and considering he was hurting Teague doubted he'd be able to stay air borne much longer without drawing attention. Not to mention, it was hard as hell to see in the dim light.

The tracker kept his eyes peeled for any place that looked like it could offer the slightest bit of shelter: an out cropping of rock, an open window, a ledge. Hell he'd even take a narrow like alley way that was still out in the open. Right now he needed something.... there! An abandoned street vendors cart! The sparrow dove for it and managed to land fairly gracefully on the axle that was tucked up under the bed of the cart. His heart was hammering in his small chest so hard it was a wonder it was still functioning. The nervous flighty little bird hopped around until he felt he was tucked nicely by the wheel and out of view of any passersby.

He needed time to think, time to come up with a semi-less chaotic plan. Teague had landed thoroughly in the thick of things and now he needed a way to get back out and by himself enough time to find the kids, if they were even down here.
Horvluk signaled the squad of six to land. The sooner he could get his feet on stone again, the happier he'd be. They landed near a row of merchant's carts, then fanned out. The fang-face with his blood magic took a hesitant step forward and then paused.

"He is near, but I cannot pinpoint him...nor do I scent or hear him."

Horvluk eyed the willowy being with a sour expression. Some worked in blood, some in wood, but goblins worked in stone and metal. He hoisted his hammer on his shoulder and spat on the cobblestones. Some beings thought they could run, but stone had patience that no normal hunter could hope to cultivate. Horvluk knelt and closed his eyes. He sang this stone up from the depths of the black lake; it knew him and could tell him secrets. A pudgy, sallow finger caressed the stonework and felt what it felt. The cool damp air of the city was not so nearly alive as the chill vibrations of the stone. Footfalls, the crunch of magically living statues on patrol, the grit of rock dust, the unmovable stone itself...nothing was unfamiliar to the streets. That had to mean that the man wasn't touching the stonework. And yet, the tinny tiny sound of metal work singing out to Horvluk indicated that the Nosferatu was right. He was near and touching goblin made metal.

The old goblin opened his eyes and barked a short order.

"Search the carts. He can't get far."
Guards wandering about here and there was not entirely an uncommon sight. Katya had seen it a few times, but it never meant anything. Ugly though the goblin was, Katya didn't keep her eyes on them. In fact, it wasn't until the sirens sounded and people began to clear from the street that Katya knew something was wrong.

"Come along, dear," a woman beckoned to her.

Katya knew it was her look of confusion that had drawn the woman's attention to her, but she shook her head and pressed herself to the wall as another family rushed by. No, she didn't want to go in. She knew she had to get out of sight, but she wanted to see. She wanted to know. It could be her father. Or one of his men. But they were in trouble. They didn't know how trained these people were, how organized. And how could they have learned more than how to get here? From what she had gathered, the underground wasn't widely known.

Katya's heart pounded heavily in her chest as she darted to the nearest cart and hid behind it, kneeling low. She kept her back against it and her body out of sight a few moments before turning carefully to face forward. She had every intention of sneaking a look over the top of the cart, but the sight of a bird flitting toward it quite hurriedly caught her eye.

A bird? That was strange. There were no wild birds in the underground, and this wasn't exactly the normal sort of bird one would keep as a pet. Yet it was a clean looking sparrow, well-groomed. It didn't look as though it lived in the wild. Katya let her knees touch the ground and her left hand as she stooped on three to reach out with her right hand for the bird. "Come here, Mr. Bird," she whispered as she stopped her fingers mere inches from its breast. "I'll keep you safe."
Teague watched as best he could from his current hiding spot and it was hard to reign in the sparrows flighty nature and not just take off in panicked flight. There were six in total that he could spot and one of them was that blasted vampire he'd failed to kill. Bloody freaking brilliant. The sparrow watched curiously as he tried to figure out what the fang-face meant when he stated that he could tell he was near but not pinpoint the exact location. The vampire all but confirmed that his scent was masked by that of a sparrow and that he was as quiet as he could possibly be.... a spell maybe?

What was even more concerning was the Goblin how appeared to be doing something. If Teague was being honest with himself he knew next to nothing about Goblins outside of those that worked at the bank and what he could recall from Defense Against the Dark Arts classes. This one in particular looked nothing like the more civil variety. Vampires and Goblins. Merlin he was even more unprepared than he first thought...

"Seach the carts. He can't get far."

The Goblin's sharply barked order snapped the tracker out of any thoughts he was having and he realized that he couldn't stay where he was much longer. They were starting a search pattern and even as tiny as he was, he wasn't foolish enough to think they would overlook this particular hiding spot. The sparrow hopped backwards once and turned, only to come face to face with a young girl and her open hand. Teague barely managed to bite back a small "peep" of surprise and he was certain if this had been any other situation he probably would have had a heart attack. It wasn't very often someone was able to sneak up on him so completely unaware.

Once he realized that the hand wasn't going to hurt him the tracker took a moment to look at who it belonged to. Perhaps they could be an unintentional ally. What he wasn't prepared for, was for his unintended ally to be one of the very people he'd been searching for. Katya! Feathers fluffed up in surprised and the bird hopped back and forth excitedly before the man was able to reign in the emotion. Finally he had proof that everything he'd been doing for the past months had been worth it. That all the flak he'd taken was worth it. And if Katya was here that meant her sister couldn't be far. But now he really needed a plan. Could he trust her to hide him effectively? Or would that be to great a risk?

The tracker could hear the goon squad getting closer and outside of flying and giving himself up that way he was out of options. He hopped up onto her open hand and hoped like hell he wasn't about to get them both killed.
Coriolanus Nightshade searched diligently. As a Nosferatu Flame Guard, his honor demanded that he and his squad found the interloper and incarcerated them properly. He had a duty to his clan and to his city. The wizard whom he hunted had tried to kill him, would have if Cori had been a human. The blonde Nosferatu went from cart to cart, scenting the air for the traces of blood that surely had to be there; across the street others did the same. Goblins searched the underside of the carts.

Eventually, Cori smelled a human. That didn't make sense....did it? Coriolanus had been certain that the man had turned into a bird. Ah...The Nosferatu searched behind the cart giving off the warmth and scent of humanity and found Katya. He smiled gently at her, keeping his fangs hidden.

"Little one, it is not safe for you out here. Come, let me escort you to safety..."

She sheltered something in her hands...was it...? Before he could look more closely, the girl whirled and released the bird.

"Here! He is here!"

"Stupefy! Accio little birdie!"

Accio what? Cori had a perplexed look as he considered the purple haired witch who had cast the spells. Carefully, she held the sparrow, trying not to crush it. The guards congregated around her.

"Ow, ow, ow stop pecking me you little shit!"

Horvluk roughly took the bird from the woman.

"Listen, wizard. Settle down and change back or I will pluck every feather from you slowly. I will break your wings, break your toes, and then break your spirit. What'll it be?"

The guards still remained circled around the goblin. Cori kept an eye on Katya. Was she going to try something or would the interloper be finally dealt with without interruptions?
So much for taking a breather. It was just his luck the fang-face was the first to find them. He didn't know if it was his own idea or if Katya was just trying to help but as soon as he took to the air he knew it had been a mistake. He never should have stopped moving. The Stupefy luckily didn't hit him directly but it was enough that he felt it's effects and pretty well and had his current captor not used a Accio spell he'd have dropped from the sky like a rock.

The sparrow had only been stunned a few seconds, but that was all it took for some purple haired wench to get her hands around him. At least she was being sort of gentle. Still he wasn't going down without a fight. His sharp little beak sought out the sort fleshy bits of her hands and clawed feet went to work where his beck couldn't. Her exclamations had the tracker thinking he was on the verge of a breakout when he was roughly manhandled by a brute of a goblin. The threat that followed had the bird stilling for a fraction of a second before it jammed its beak into the goblins had as hard as it could. All threats aside there was no guarantee that they wouldn't carry the threat through if they recognized him as a Death Eater.

When the goblin released his grip slightly it was all took for Teague to try and make his escape. it was short lived however. Whoever had said goblins were slow and stupid obviously had never met this breed of goblin. He was fast. Fast enough that he was able to grab a wing hard enough to crush delicate bone. the sparrow let out a squawk and struggled as much as it could until it realized it wasn't going to be able to get anywhere in this form now. There was only one thing left to do, transform back fast and hope to catch them off guard.

It all happened in a matter of seconds. Where there was once a sparrow a man had taken its place and he had come up with his left fist aiming straight for the goblins face as a distraction, as he twisted his body in order to break the grip the ugly brute had on his arm. Teague had to bite back as scream as his broken arm took the brunt of the abuse but rather than allow it to debilitate him, the tracker allowed his training to kick in. Voldemort had done worse. In the span of a few seconds he unsheathed a knife from its concealed boot sheath and had thrown it at the purple haired wizard. As soon as the blade was free and flying his was up with his wand drawn and a killing curse on the tip of his tongue.
Last edited by Teague MacTail on Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Stop it!" Katya screamed, hoping to get the group of guards' attention, but it was to no result. Not that she had genuinely thought it would. Even her attempts to get between them to stop the careless transfer of the sparrow had proven any use. They were going to kill him, though. That much she was sure of, and she had to do something. This sparrow was a sign of hope and potentially a person. Surely they wouldn't make such a fuss if it was really just a sparrow.

"STOP!" she screamed again, this time more commanding than shrill and desperate. She wanted attention, for them to stop treating her as a no one. She would do what she had to. She might not be allowed her wand, and she might not be the strongest person, but she was willing to bet she could do enough harm to at least distract. As the bird squawked in pain, Katya went to the cart and kicked the wood handle forcibly. It cracked, but it didn't break. She tried again, though by this time, the man that had replaced the sparrow had dealt his hand.

She knew who it was. She'd seen her father around this man before. Teague, he'd called him. One of the few men her father had ever called by a first name more often than a last. Trevor was paranoid and had few friends. This man was one of those few friends.

He was looking for her!

Katya abandoned the fruitless attempt at breaking the cart handle to stand by Teague's side. She'd jump in front if she had to to make the group hesitate, but she was not going to just let Teague take this on his own. He might have magic, but the Nosferatu did, too, and the goblin and the witch were far from helpless. She had to give them a reason to back down. She stood ready.
Horvluk grunted in effort. His two and a half foot tall frame wasn't adequate to restrain a wizard physically; magical restraint was necessary. The goblin ducked down when the knife was thrown and placed his palm on the stone street. A meaty impact sound made him turn his head.

Coriolanus, young by nosferatu standards, had taken the knife meant for Abrigail right in his chest. He was dead. Horvluk bared his yellow teeth in a growl and slammed his magic through the stonework. The spell was for restraint and normally flowed up smoothly to trap its target. Instead it erupted outward and upward to form a sphere of stone around the tracker.

"Katya, get the stubborn off ya face. We ain't gonna kill 'im. But he already killed Cori. He was likely gonna kidnap you and try to take ya out...and the maze woulda killed ya both. Ya can't see how we are keepin' ya safe, but when ya do...well you'll unnerstand. Maybe talk to Jake or Cedric fer clarity. Now, if you'll excuse us miss."

He hid his anger behind a gruff business tone. Katya was the reason this man came. She didn't need to know it was her fault that he'd be 'taken care of' the Syndicate way. She didn't need to know what that meant.

The goblin glowered at her to get her to scamper off. He fumbled out a black iron whistle and blew a sharp note on it. Tim the troll came lumbering down the street like an eager puppy...poor Tim. Too smart to fit in with trolls, too dumb to fit in with people...he was always happy to help the goblins who treated him with a tolerance he took for affection. Tim thankfully was strong enough to lift the stone works of people captured.

"Tim, get it! Get it, Tim. Take it to Hive Three."

The Beehive was the syndicate's holding cells. The walls of the bullet shaped rooms were spelled to reflect spells directly back to the caster. Being below ground level, the steeply curved sides made it impossible to climb out. The only entry ways were through the goblin tunnels and the round hole at the top. Both were heavily guarded.

The troll lumbered away with the stone ball, singing happily to himself.

(Ooc jump to the hive?)
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